With the right habits, you can be a millionaire, have a perfect set of abs, and have the relationship of your dreams. Just think about that for a moment. Effective habits are the key to accomplishing anything.
Motivation is largely irrelevant when it comes to habits. You don’t have to be motivated to brush your teeth – you just do it without fighting with yourself.
Unfortunately, no one taught us how to create a good habit. If you can create habits at will, you become unstoppable.
Follow this process to create the habits you need to excel in life:
1. Identify the habit you want to create.
Often, people are too vague in their objectives. They might want to “eat healthier”, for example. But that’s not a well-defined habit. “Eat one cup of vegetables with every meal” is a habit.
Be clear on the habit you want to create, whether it’s 50 pushups each day or reading 10 pages of a book. It should be obvious to you by the end of the day whether you’ve done it or not.
2. List the benefits of that habit.
Why do you want to create this habit? What are you getting out of it? Convince yourself that this is worth your time and effort. Create a little motivation and a sense of urgency.
Habits can be challenging to create, so know the advantages of your new habit. It will make things easier when you don’t feel like doing it.
3. Determine the best time to perform that desired habit each day.
Does it make sense to do your habit in the morning? At night? During your lunch break? If you wear a suit or a dress to work, performing 100 squats at the office might be inconvenient. Choose a time of day.
4. Stack your new habit on top of an old habit.
Habits need a trigger. You don’t just randomly eat a bag of chips. You might eat chips while watching TV or when feeling a certain emotion, such as anxiety or boredom. Every habit has a trigger.
The most convenient trigger is something that you already do religiously each day. You have a ton of them. Here are a few examples: brushing your teeth, getting dressed, making your coffee, opening your front door, starting your car, getting your mail, and checking your email.
Choose a trigger for your habit that makes sense. For example, you might do your exercise routine after brushing your teeth or after opening your front door when you get home.
5. Make it easy to perform the new habit.
If you’re going to go running every morning, have your running clothes and other gear right by your bed. Set up your environment to accommodate your new habit.
6. Start small and grow from there.
Start by having a goal of doing one push-up, jogging for two minutes, reading one page, writing one sentence, or making one sales call. Habits are built by actually doing them. You might have a goal of making 100 sales calls per day, but that might be too overwhelming to even get started.
Make it so easy that you can’t fail. Anyone can find the time and motivation to do one push-up.
7. Reward yourself.
Habits become habits because there is a reward. This encourages the behavior to happen again. Use any reward you like, but the key is to feel good. You can bask in your pride, listen to your favorite song, or come up with another reward.
8. Be consistent.
Habits are more easily built if done multiple times each day. Once a day is quite effective, too. Once a week is unlikely to work.
Think about the goals and challenges in your life. What habits could you create in order to make your life exactly what you want it to be? With effective habits, nothing is out of your reach.